The transfer of a principal accused of child sexual abuse to the Kendriya Vidyalaya in Tiruvannamalai district caused major concern for over a week amongst the parents of students attending the school. Following this, the Tiruvannamalai District Collector KS Kandasamy relieved Principal Kumar Thakur from the post on Monday.
In February last year, Thakur had been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 354(A) (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. This after, he allegedly sexually harassed female students and teachers at Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) in Bengaluru, where he had been posted. He was released on bail shortly after his arrest and has since then been transferred to other branches of KV.
Thakur was posted at the Tiruvannamalai branch on August 13. But following media report on the case against him, the Collector, who is also the Chairman of the School Management Committee decided to intervene in the matter.
"The news of his alleged involvement in child sexual abuse was causing panic amongst parents. And so, I decided that he will have to be removed from the post," the Collector told TNM. "If he was just a teacher or even part of the non-teaching staff, we could have ensured he is monitored. But since he holds such a senior position in the school, we can't allow him to continue without any checks," he adds.
Parents were, according to the Collector, already sending mails to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Kendriya Vidyalaya. Even ChildLine was in contact with the Education Department over the matter.
"Kendriya Vidyalaya in Tamil Nadu operates on state government land and is answerable to the School Management Committee Chairman. I passed the order and sent it to him on Monday. I also informed the KV Commissioner about the reasons for my decision," says the Collector. "The senior-most teacher in the school has now been given additional charge of principal as of now," he adds.
While the Collector says there was no misdemeanor on Thakur's part at the present institution, the Parent Teacher Association alleges that he went against protocol. Through personal messages on WhatsApp, he allegedly asked female teachers for passport size photos to upload on the school website. This despite school norms demanding that a circular be issued to collect any nature of information.